Pilot Officer Geoffrey Arnold COLLINS

Service No: 416247
Born: Adelaide SA, 23 September 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 April 1941
Unit: No. 100 Squadron, Milne Bay PNG
Died: Air Operations (No. 100 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-32), Normanby Island New Guinea, 9 January 1943, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arnold William and Gertrude Elizabeth Collins; husband of Margaret Alison Collins, of Millswood Estate, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Burnside SA
Remembered: Panel 104, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Another Beaufort was heard a few minutes later. Sergeant Megaw came up on the frequency and said he couldn’t see an inch. Wing Commander Balmer (1) gave an order for him to fly out over the Bay-well out to sea-drop his torpedo safely and then come back and bale out. Megaw gave a receipt for the message. You could hear his engines up there. They sounded plaintive, alone in the thick fog above the bay. The whole of the squadron was out, looking anxiously up into the night, wondering about the blokes in A9-8. They were four Sergeants – Megaw, Young, Howlett and Lay.

Suddenly, there was a flash of light through the murk, then a quaking explosion. The Beaufort had lost too much height in the clouds and hit the mountain south of Wagga Mission on the south side of the Bay. A9-32 did not return. Roberts, Collins’ W.A.G., had spoken to control from somewhere near Goodenough, but there was no other word.

The following day, Beauforts made a thorough search for it among the D’Entrecasteaux Islands, the
Trobriands, Conflicts, Louiscades, Orangerie Bay, from Mullens Harbour to Abau, through the China Straits, from the Amphlett Group to Dobadura, and around Milne Bay. They found no trace.
But the A.I.F. had found where it had crashed on Normanby Island, and recovered the bodies of the crew – Pilot Officer Collins and Sergeants Forrest, Haysom and Roberts. The A.I.F. buried them on the island. Padre Debenham organised a search party of the A.I.F. men and some natives. Together, they climbed the mountain and recovered the bodies of Megaw and his crew.

(1) Group Captain John Raeburn Balmer OBE DFC (68) was killed on air operations on 11 May 1944.

Extract from Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946 – Pages 32-3

On 9 January 1943, Beaufort A9-32 flew into a hill on Normanby Island during bad weather while returning from an operational mission. The crew members of A9-32 were:

Pilot Officer Geoffrey Arnold Collins (416247) (Pilot)
Sergeant Robert Forrest (408677) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Albert Rowland Haysom (11639) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Francis Owen Roberts (408521) (Observer)

On 9 January 1943, Beaufort A9-8 crashed near Wagga Mission at Milne Bay on return from an operational mission, killing its four crew members. The crew members of A9-8 were:

The crew members of A9-8 were:

Sergeant Lochlan James Howlett (408846) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Donald William Lay (408248) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Geoffrey Stace Megaw (412051) (Pilot)
Sergeant William Reeve Young (408901) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 241


Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990

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